The Beauty of Cassis Blanc: Sublime Seaside Wines from Domaine du Bagnol

The Beauty of Cassis Blanc: Sublime Seaside Wines from Domaine du Bagnol

The Genovesi family relax among their vines on a typically sun-soaked afternoon in Cassis.

With only 11 domaines and 220 cultivated hectares of vines, the gorgeous seaside appellation of Cassis produces distinctive wines of sun-soaked Mediterranean generosity and marked salinity, the vast majority of which are consumed locally. We have worked with Domaine du Bagnol since the early 1980s, first with former owner Claire Lefevre, and since the early 2000s with the magnetic Genovesi family, proudly representing among the very few examples of this historic appellation to be found in the American market.

Under the stewardship of Jean-Louis Genovesi and his children Sébastien and Lisa, Bagnol has become Cassis’s most dynamic domaine, converting to organic viticultural practices—certified since 2011—and continually refining their work in the cellar to achieve maximum expressiveness. Bagnol’s stunning Cassis Rosé, from Grenache and Mourvèdre, has been among our most beloved wines in the category for decades, and their flagship Cassis Blanc in recent years has gained notable textural depth through Sébastien’s searching and thoughtful approach.

In early 2019, the Genovesis had the remarkable opportunity to purchase the vineyards of the Domaine Saint-Louis Jayne: eight hectares of old vines in the most well-regarded sector of the appellation, on the breeze-buffeted slopes immediately under the limestone promontory of La Couronne. Former owner Laurent Jayne worked for many years according to biodynamic principles; thus, vines and soil were already in excellent health at the time of the acquisition. Notably, Jayne retained all nine allowed grape varieties in his vineyards, including the elusive Pascal Blanc for which he had a particular affinity.

This monumental acquisition firmly cemented Bagnol’s position as the appellation’s premier producer. Rather than simply folding the holdings of Saint-Louis Jayne into their existing production, the Genovesis created a new cuvée to showcase this special terroir and this unique mélange of varieties, debuting the Cassis Blanc “Caganis” (meaning “last-born” in old Provençal) with the 2019 vintage. The duo of the flagship Cassis Blanc and the singular Caganis represents an apex expression of Mediterranean white wine, both wines displaying a combination of southerly generosity, textural complexity, and salty cut that places them well within the ranks of better-known peers in fancier appellations.

More on Domaine du Bagnol here.